Food Plot Efficiency
So many of you are looking at adding acreage to their food plots but should first make sure you are doing all you can do with your current acreages. My goal for all of you is to increase your food plot efficiency by 25% or more. No matter if you are an experienced food plotter or beginner, you all can do better. Here is 10 things you can do to increase your growth and nutrition per acre of land planted.
1) Learn the effective planting depth of all forages you plant. Most clovers and brassicas are only needing to be planted 1/8-1/4" deep. Corn, soybeans and sorghums at least 1" deep.
2) Proper preplant burn down, both timing and effectiveness. So many people stunt weeds vs complete kill them. You need to use the right tank mix of the product. You need to spray at the correct temperature. You need to not clip then spray but spray actively growing weeds. You also need to set your sprayer pressure to apply more water particles and less volume of water.
3) Effective seed to soil contact. You will see faster germination, less weed competition and a thicker stand by making sure you have good seed to soil contact. Again, make sure your seed when rolled is at the proper planting depth after rolling.
4) Proper soil ph for what you are planting. So many people understand you need a soil ph range typically between 6.0-7.0. What happens when you have a 7.5 ph or 5.5 ph? Do you still plant ladino clover and chicory when you have a 5.0 ph? What do you do when your soil test shows 7.3 and higher ph's? Do you add sulfur to bring it down to the effective range?
5) Proper fertilizations for what your planting. I am seeing 90% of the soil samples from across the US being low in potassium. So many people have been using standard 10-10-10's, 15-15-15's and generic fertilizer recommendations without being aware of the amount of nutrients your food plots are mining from the soil. You should never plant without a soil test. You should always fertilizer based on that soil test.
6) Split applications of fertilizers. So many people put the full rate of fertilizer down at planting but in cases where high rates are required, you can benefit by putting 200-300 lbs at planting and the rest down 4 weeks later. Another thing most do not do is use a fall application of potassium for their perennials. Most perennials need 200-300 lbs of potassium every year if you are getting effective growth. Put down your fall "winterization."
7) Use of foliar plant foods. Many progressive crop farmers now use micro nutrients and yet very few food plotters do. You will see an increase in growth, plant protein, plant mineral content and plant sugar content by going over the top 1-2 times per growing season. They can cost at little at $5-10 per acre and can give one a 20-40 to 1 return on your dollar for that more nutritious growth per acre.